LOCK HAVEN - A tearful Tera Confer, 32, of Howard, who was arrested last November on multiple felony charges in the aftermath of a crash that killed a Lock Haven man, was told Monday she will serve at least 44 months in a state correctional institution for her crimes.
"I could say I'm sorry every day of my life, and it still wouldn't be enough," Confer said, as she turned from the judge and looked into the audience where the surviving family members listened.
More tearful and sad were the family members of the fatal victim, who offered "victim impact statements" to the court Monday afternoon during a sentencing hearing.
Less tearful and more strident, was Clinton County District Attorney Michael Salisbury, who argued for and received a sentence in the aggravated range, after he pointed to Confer's earlier drunk-driving charge from 2008.
Salisbury also pointed to Confer's willingness to go back to the same bar (the Beech Creek Hotel) for a birthday party, even while charges were moving forward against her for homicide by vehicle while intoxicated, and said those actions proved "she hasn't learned her lesson ... It's clear from her conduct she took absolutely nothing away from those experiences."
Salisbury further pointed to a comment she made to probation officials, indicating "she does not believe she has a problem with alcohol," a claim he said "flies in the face off any claim she's made that she is remorseful."
The charges included homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol, a second-degree felony; two third-degree counts of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol; two third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault by vehicle; one third-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle; one misdemeanor charge of drunk driving - second offense within 10 years; a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated - BAC .21 percent; five misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering lives; and numerous summary traffic offenses.
According to state police at Lamar, the three-vehicle accident in the Beech Creek area Nov. 18 on Route 150 resulted in the death of Jerry Marshall, 53, of Lock Haven.
The collision blocked traffic on Route 150 for several miles and required a massive response from local fire departments, ambulance services and emergency-rescue squads, according to state police.
The 7:40 p.m. crash occurred about a quarter-mile south of Laurel Run Road in Bald Eagle Township, according to Trooper Christopher Soo.
Confer was driving her 2003 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer north on Route 150, police said, when her vehicle crossed the center line and crashed into Marshall's 1999 Pontiac Sunfire head-on.
Family members, including Mrs. Marshall, talked about the devastating loss and its daily impact on their lives. Mr. Marshall was, Salisbury said, a "special man" who was well known and well liked in the larger community.
"She took something very precious from us," Mrs. Marshall said.
"There is no sentence that will bring Jerry back," Salisbury said, noting that the crime was not merely a mistake, but was a conscious choice to drink, to drink too much, to drive and to drive in a reckless manner while intoxicated.
Before she got behind the wheel of her vehicle, Salisbury said, she spent the afternoon at a Beech Creek area tavern
After impact, Confer's Blazer crossed back into the northbound lane and rolled onto its passenger side, facing northwest and resting against a dirt embankment, police said.
A Ford F-250 pickup driven by Andrew Morrison, 34, of New Providence, was struck by debris from the impact between the two other vehicles, but neither Morrison nor his passenger, Steven Hess, 34, of Quarryville, were hurt in the crash, according to police.
A front-seat passenger in Marshall's auto, Donna Geyer-Marshall, 60, of Lock Haven, and a rear-seat passenger, a 1-year-old child, were taken to Lock Haven Hospital for treatment of their injuries, police said.
Confer also was taken to Lock Haven Hospital for treatment of injuries, police said.
Her attorney, Frank Miceli, told the court that Confer has a 14-year-old child and is pregnant.
"I made a very, very bad choice and it haunts me daily," Confer said.